Editorial Standards

To preserve and further Ithaca’s reputation for quality, we offer the following guide to the college’s official editorial style and a list of official wordings of names and places. This document is meant to ensure consistency, clarity, and credibility in official college communications. Our primary reference books are the latest editions of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and The Chicago Manual of Style, adapted to the particular needs of our campus.

Please find below a "Quick Guide" to IC Style. If you cannot find what you are looking for below, please reference the complete Editorial Standards and Official Names and Places list in the sidebar.

A Note about Accuracy

In all of the publications, statements, reports, stories, media releases, social media, marketing materials, and other information that the Office of College Relations and Communications manages, we require accuracy and truthfulness. Our process to ensure this standard entails the following steps, which we apply as appropriate based on the type of project:
    •    Verifying information with subject matter experts or content owners
    •    Researching with authoritative sources such as the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research, the Ithaca College Library archives, or other official college records
    •    Fact checking through independent external sources and publications
    •    Verifying directly with the subjects of stories
In an instance when an error does get published, the office will run a correction (in the case of news stories or magazine publications) or revise and replace the erroneous material (in the case of non-publication material).

A Note on Capitalization

For the sake of clarity and readability, we agree with Chicago’s plea for a “down style,” that is, one that avoids unnecessary capitalization: “Understanding is best served by capitalizing only what are clearly proper nouns and adjectives in the context under discussion.”

Quick Guide to IC Style


IC 20/20: The college's strategic plan to transform the student learning experience

ICC: Integrative Core Curriculum

ICNYC: IC's program in New York City

Class year - Apostrophe should face to the left, and graduate degrees should follow undergraduate degrees, separated by a comma.

George Doe ’67

George Doe ’97, M.S. ’98

Degree names - Full names of degrees are lowercased; abbreviations are uppercased and take periods

bachelor of science degree in chemistry, bachelor’s degree in chemistry, B.S. in chemistry

master of business administration, M.B.A.

doctorate in English, Ph.D. [NB: As at many other colleges and universities, “Dr.” is used to designate the holder of a medical, not an academic, degree]

Compound modifiers - As a general guideline, compound modifiers are open or hyphenated before the noun, and open after the noun: she was well known; a well-known authority, a first-year student, an off-campus apartment, she will live off campus.

Computer/Internet Terms

email (without the hyphen), but e-book, e-newsletter, etc.

the Internet

ithaca.edu, ithaca.edu/marcom  (Do not use the www, unless a URL will not work without it.)

log-in (n.), log in (v.)

the web; web page, web designer; website, webcast, webmaster 

Course Titles - Official names of courses are title case, without quotation marks or italics:

Cases in Contemporary Management, the contemporary management course; Introduction to Photography, the introductory photography course.

Departments - Department names are capitalized when using the full name, lowercased when referred to generically.

Department of Biology, the biology department [This system of capitalization holds for the other departments as well. Check the college directory (ithaca.edu/offices) for complete listings of departments and offices.]

Majors and minors - With the obvious exception of proper nouns and adjectives (e.g., English, German area studies), majors and minors are lowercased. A complete list of majors and minors can be found in the undergraduate catalog (ithaca.edu/catalogs).

Numbers and Numerals - Spell out numbers one through nine and their corresponding ordinals, and use numerals for larger numbers: e.g., three blind mice, 24 blackbirds baked in a pie; the second out of the ninth inning, the 21st century. Such multiples as one hundred or nine thousand may also be spelled out. When the number begins a sentence or course title, spell it out: Twenty-five students are taking Twentieth-Century American Drama this semester.

Use a comma in numbers with four or more digits—e.g., 3,256.

% - Use numerals for percentages, even in running text. The percent symbol (%) may be used in tables, but in non-scientific running text, write out the word: Only 6 percent of the residents filled out the survey.

Personal, Organizational, and Place Names

& - Allow an ampersand in running text only if it’s part of the official name, e.g., Procter & Gamble, Ogilvy & Mather.

Inc. - Do not use “Inc.” or “Ltd.” in running text unless absolutely necessary; when they must be included, do not use a comma: Time Inc. publishes Time magazine.

Maiden Names - Maiden names precede married names and are not placed in parentheses or quotation marks: Elizabeth Smith Brown ’90.


Alumni – alumnus (singular male), alumni (plural male or plural male and female); alumna (single female), alumnae (plural female) [NB: “Alumni” is not singular, despite common usage. “Alum” should be used only in informal contexts.]

curriculum, curricula

Emeritus - professor emeritus, professors emeriti; professor emerita, professors emeritae

Letter Grades - Plurals of letter grades do not take an apostrophe before the s: She gave out more As than Bs this semester.

Serial Comma - To avoid ambiguity, use commas to separate all items in a series: a, b, and c. If the items contain internal punctuation or are complex, use semicolons instead of commas.

Spelling - In the case of alternate spellings or plurals, we use the first entry in Webster’s.

Titles and Offices

Academic and Professional Titles- In general, titles before a name are capitalized when they may be seen as part of the name or as a form of address; when they act as appositives (that is, when they modify the name), they are lowercased. Named professorships may be capitalized after the name.

Administration/Staff examples:

Ithaca College president Shirley M. Collado, President Shirley M. Collado, President Collado, the president


professor of business administration Fahri Unsal, Professor Fahri Unsal

Dana Professor of Biology Vicki Cameron; Vicki Cameron, Dana Professor of Biology; Professor Cameron

Titles of Works

Musical Compositions - Song titles are roman and quoted, while the titles of long musical compositions, like operas, are italicized: the “La vendetta” from The Marriage of Figaro, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel.

Publications - Titles of short stories and poems are roman and quoted; novels and long poems are italicized, but generic sections are roman and lowercased: Frost’s “Stopping by Woods,” Dante’s Inferno, chapter 3 in The Catcher in the Rye.

Plays of all lengths are italicized: Romeo and Juliet.

Magazines, journals, and other periodicals are italicized; sections or individual articles are roman and quoted: the “Talk of the Town” department in the New Yorker.

Official Names of Buildings

Alumni Hall

Athletics and Events Center (A&E Center on Second Reference)

Campus Center [comprising Phillips Hall and Egbert Hall]

Center for Health Sciences, health sciences center, CHS

Center for Natural Sciences, natural sciences center, CNS

Center for Public Safety and General Services, public safety/general services building

Ceracche Athletic Center, Ceracche Center

Clinton B. Ford Observatory, Ford Observatory, the observatory

Dillingham Center for the Performing Arts, Dillingham Center

Fitness Center

Friends Hall

Caroline Werner Gannett Center, Gannett Center

J. David Hammond Center for Student Health Services, Hammond Health Center, the health center

Laurence S. Hill Center, Hill Center

Ithaca College London Center, London Center

Ithaca College James B. Pendleton Center in Los Angeles, James B. Pendleton Center in Los Angeles

Job Hall

Herman E. and Florence S. Muller Memorial Chapel, Muller Chapel, the chapel

Muller Faculty Center, Muller Center

Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, School of Business building [NEVER just Park Center]

Roy H. Park Hall, Park Hall

Harold F. and Lois M. Smiddy Hall, Smiddy Hall

Robert B. Tallman Rowing Center

Textor Hall

James J. Whalen Center for Music, Whalen Center for Music, Whalen Center

Peggy Ryan Williams Center

Williams Hall